Yorkshire Crafts

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Yorkshire Crafts
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Designer/maker of hand knitted, hand crafted, handmade items, avid collector and reluctant seller of vintage china, mum, home-educator and book lover. Blogging about our crafts and makes, our home education journey, and reviews of books we use.
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We really hope you enjoy reading about our projects and products, but just because they're featured here in public, doesn't mean anyone else can copy them or reproduce them for commercial gain. Except where otherwise indicated, all items are ©YorkshireCrafts.

Vintage Watering Can

Vintage Watering Can

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers
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Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Finds

I can't believe it's Friday again already.  Where's the week gone?  It's not been the best of weeks here in the Yorkshire Crafts household:  I put my back out which means I haven't got much sewing done, and then to top it off, I broke a tooth.  Then Junior went down with a cold, so he's not a happy bunny right now.

On the plus side, I have managed to achieve a long-held ambition to knit myself a pair of socks.  More on those later though.  It's Friday Finds time and this week, I'm featuring just one maker.

As a lover of all things Celtic and mystical, especially King Arthur and Y Mabinogion, I couldn't resist including this gorgeous necklace from Folksy seller Sarah Tucker, aka "April is Forever Jewellery".  She's putting together a whole range of Arthurian/Camelot inspired jewellery and the piece we're featuring is the Guinevere necklace.
Guinevere Necklace
Must say I'm rather taken with the Morgan le Fey earrings too. ;)
Morgan le Fey earrings
For more beautiful jewellery, visit Sarah's shop http://www.folksy.com/shops/aprilisforever
Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday Finds

This week, in between knitting and sewing several tissue holders, I've been browsing around with a "purple" theme in mind, as I'm in a purple mood this week.

I've found some lovely items.  Some might make good gifts, after all, there are only 63 days until Christmas!  I couldn't resist including my last "find".  Well, it is Halloween soon ;)

How about these gorgeous "Knitters Earrings" from designer Max Alexander? Surely a must for any knitter!  Available from http://www.maxsworld.co.uk and from selected stockists.

Or what about a pretty butterfly hairclip.  Wouldn't any little girl like one of these?  Available from the Folksy store of Pink Stars and Fairy Cakes.

Continuing on my purple trail, I came across this wonderful purple patchwork telephone, which would make a fantastic addition to any playroom, although it's not suitable for under 3s.  Isn't it gorgeous!  This super item is available from Folksy seller needles and buttons.

And finally, how about one of these spooky masks to frighten the children join in the fun on Halloween?  Available from the Etsy store of Texas based PrayingforFall.

Happy Friday, everyone.
Monday, 18 October 2010

Buying Handmade - Don't dilute the marketplace

As a relative newcomer to sites such as Etsy, Folksy, Artfire et al, I've been pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of sellers list their products at realistic prices.  As a maker, it's encouraging to see that buyers do generally appreciate the true value of handmade items and are willing to pay for them.

What prompted this post though was an excellent post recently by Hayley Mitchell of Ruby Wren Designs http://www.rubywren.com/blog/?p=706 where she talks about folk expecting to find cheap goods on Etsy.

FACT 1: There will always be those who expect to pay mass-produced prices for unique items.
FACT 2: There will always be sellers desperate (or daft) enough to supply goods at silly prices.

The trouble with Fact 2 is that makers who are prepared to sell at very low prices may find it extremely difficult to put prices up to a more realistic rate once sales take off.

Take eBay.  As an outlet, eBay is definitely not the place it once was.  I used to do quite well on there with my hand knitted baby clothes, but since the advent of the "no fee for start prices of 99p or less", eBay's been inundated with 99p listings.

What annoys me more than anything is the number of people who list items at 99p, but bump up the postage to ridiculous levels purely because they actually do want a reasonable price for their item but won't pay the 10-15p it costs to list at a sensible price.

Some people don't even do that though.  I've seen eBay listings for beautiful looking baby items priced at 99p, with 80p postage.   The seller is barely, if at all, covering the costs of their materials, and is certainly not making anything remotely resembling a profit.  I just don't understand the logic behind it.

Regardless of where an item is listed, there are always going to be some sellers who do extremely well and make a decent living from their craft.  For many more, a day job is required in order to make ends meet, with the crafting being a hobby that generates a welcome, but often sporadic, second income.

When people are willing to sell their items at cost, or in some cases less than cost, they're certainly not achieving anything like the minimum wage when you take into account the materials, time and effort that's gone into creating an item.

If a seller doesn't truly value their own items, they can't expect anyone else to.   All that will be achieved by is that the marketplace becomes diluted, with buyers expecting to get stuff for nix and sellers who do charge "proper" prices getting far fewer sales.  Which is no good at all for those of us who design and make for a living.

I guess what I'm saying is:  Never ever undersell yourself.
Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday Find: Owls

Welcome to our first "Friday Find", where we highlight a product or products we like.  I hope this will become a regular Friday event, so if you'd like to suggest something you think we should feature, please let us know.

This weeks find:  Owls

Now I'm normally more of a frog person than an owl person, but I just love these little guys made by designer/maker Nina Mistry-Rhoades, aka Little Blue Elephant.   I first noticed these little fellas when Nina asked for feedback on a couple of Owl's mates, and I fell in love with them. They're so cute!  

Nina also makes lovely tote bags, lavender bags and the most gorgeous sleepy elephants, which I'm sure would make ideal gifts and a wonderful addition to any child's toy collection.  They just cry out to be cuddled, and I wish I'd had one for Junior when he was a baby.

I must credit Nina for being the owly inspiration behind one of my own makes, an owl-themed pocket tissue cover.  I'm actually quite pleased with the way it turned out, and it's a perfect way to keep those tissues tidy in a pocket or handbag, so I'll be adding some to the http://www.yorkshirehandknits.com website soon.  Thanks Nina for inspiring these :)

If anyone would like to see more of Nina's lovely owls, and her other makes, just visit her Flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/5littleelephants/ or contact her via twitter @ninamistry to discuss buying/commissioning a piece.
Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mini Review - Debbie Bliss: The Knitter's Year

I love this book!

Having been the first person to take it out from the library, I was most upset at having to return it.  I want one, I want one, I want one.  And while I know (or at least it's what I tell the kids!) that I want doesn't get, I'm so adding this book to my Christmas list.

"The Knitter's Year" is the perfect present for anyone who knits, or indeed for anyone who's just starting out knitting as nearly all the 52 projects in it are very straightforward and all are intended to be completed in a week, and in a lot of cases, considerably less than a week.

The book is set out in four sections, with projects for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and there are some fantastic makes.   From a classic pair of gloves, a funky summer beach bag and delicate tea-light holder covers, to practical things like sewing needle cases, there's something to appeal to every knitter out there.  Many of the designs would be ideal to give as gifts and I know I'd be delighted to receive any one of them as a present.

So far, the only pattern I've tried is the one for needle cases.  Debbie has generally used more muted, gentle shades for the makes in this book.  As per usual, I've gone for something bold and bright for my version.

"The Knitter's Year" is a must!  Need I say more?
Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Two years in the making

I've finally finished a sweater that's been nearly two years in the making.  That makes me sound like I'm a really slow knitter.  I'm not!

I started this sweater back in Feb 2009,  I made the back and a sleeve, and the jumper got put away while I concentrated on making baby clothes for the latest impending arrival.  And I never really stopped.  Making baby clothes, that is.

There's something immensely rewarding about being able to create gorgeous little items that are finished quite quickly, and my poor sweater ended up being ignored while I knitted my way through around 35km of baby yarn.  Yeah, sad I know, but I did work out how much wool I'd knitted!  It wasn't until Mr YC reminded me about my UFO (one of many!) that I dug it out again and started on the second sleeve.

My finished sweater is  a very simple pattern called "Sampler Stitch Sweater" from a lovely book of Crucci designs that I picked up years ago for ten cents in a thrift store over in Australia.  I'd say it was 10c well spent!

The photo above doesn't really do it justice, but a larger version - which shows a little more detail of the pattern - can be seen here http://twitpic.com/2vo13